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The best and worst multipurpose cleaners from our tests

We share which surface cleaners scrub up the best and which perform worse than water. 

using surface spray on benchtop
Last updated: 06 February 2023

Whatever your cleaning style – everything at the last minute or methodical and meticulous – you need cleaning products that work. 

And with so many cleaning products available (seriously, have you seen the cleaning aisle?) it can be hard to know what works and what's a waste of your money. 

We tested 46 different multipurpose cleaners to sort out the winners from the wet blankets. Here's what we found.

The best surface cleaners from our tests

If you're a clean freak, we have good news: there are a full eight products from our test that our experts recommend. Last time we tested, only three products made the cut, so clearly some manufacturers have really pulled their socks up. 

There's a considerable difference between the best and worst products, too: while the recommended products scored 80% and above, almost every other product in the test scored less than 50%. 

bosistos multipurpose

Bosistos Multipurpose was one of the top-performing products in our test.

"You could grab just about any old multipurpose cleaner off the supermarket shelves and it would do an acceptable job – after all, you can always just scrub a little longer," says CHOICE cleaning expert Ashley Iredale

"But if you want a product that really works, make sure you're choosing wisely."

Here are the top-scoring multipurpose cleaners:

  • Bosistos Multipurpose (CHOICE Expert Rating: 95%)
  • Citro Clean Super Concentrate Multi-Purpose Cleaner (95%)
  • Nifti All Purpose Cleaner (95%)
  • Rhythm All Purpose Cleaner (90%)
  • Dettol Healthy Clean Kitchen (85%)
  • Pine O Clean Brand New Day Multi-Purpose Cleaner (85%)
  • Windex Surface & Glass Multi-Purpose Cleaner – floral (80%)
  • Windex Surface & Glass Multi-Purpose Cleaner – mountain fresh (80%)

The worst-performing surface cleaners from our tests

There may have been lots of diamonds in our test, but there were also plenty of duds. Four products didn't even outperform plain water, which is a pretty dire state of affairs! 

  • Plain water (CHOICE Expert Rating: 25%)
  • Saba Organics Surface Sanitiser (25%)
  • Rhythm Cleaning Vinegar Kitchen Surface Spray (25%)
  • Morning Fresh Surface Disinfectant (25%)
  • Diggers Multi-Purpose Surface Cleaner (25%)

Special mention: Overpriced vinegar

While we're all for homemade cleaning products, some manufacturers are really having a lend. Rhythm Cleaning Vinegar Kitchen Surface Cleaning Spray costs $1.20 per 100mL but only cleaned as well as plain water in our tests. 

By comparison, you can pick up a bottle of basic white vinegar from Coles for about 7 cents per 100mL – that's more than 17 times cheaper than Rhythm's cleaning vinegar. And with the leftover money you could buy yourself some hot chips to douse in it. 

rhythm cleaning vinegar kitchen surface spray

Rhythm cleaning vinegar costs 17 times as much as normal vinegar, but performs no better than plain water.

If you have your heart set on an 'eco' product, Bosistos Multipurpose is the top-scoring product in our test and costs $1 less per bottle – it's a much better buy than vinegar that's been trumped up and marked up beyond belief. 

"We've often found products that shout proudly about their 'eco' credentials are as expensive as they are ineffective," says Ashley. 

"But Bosistos shows that if you choose wisely, you can have a clean kitchen and a clean conscience, without it costing you the earth."

woolworths macro multipurpose cleaner

Both Woolworths own-brand products we tested scored just 30%.

The supermarket stinkers

We're often pleasantly surprised by how supermarket products stack up against branded products – many of them outperform products that cost several times more. That's good news for bargain hunters!

But unfortunately that wasn't the case with surface cleaners – not one single supermarket spray performed well in our testing. Woolworths scored particularly poorly, with both its products only achieving 30%. 

So if you're looking to reduce your household budget, you'll have to look elsewhere in your cleaning regime to make savings. 

Here's how they stacked up:

  • Woolworths Macro Multipurpose Cleaner: CHOICE Expert Rating 30%
  • Woolworths Strike Pro Multipurpose Spray Cleaner: 30%
  • Aldi Power Force Pro Multi Purpose Cleaner: 40%
  • Coles Green Choice Multi-Purpose Cleaner: 40%
  • Aldi Green Action Multi Purpose Cleaner: 45%
  • Coles Ultra Multi-Purpose Cleaner: 45%

The pricey poor performers

At the other end of the price range, the two most expensive products in our test didn't demonstrate performance to match their price tags. 

Koala Eco Natural Multi-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 45%
  • Price: $10.95 ($2.19 per 100mL)

Earth Choice Cove Surface

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 45%
  • Price: $10.00 ($2.11 per 100mL)

By comparison, the cheapest products recommended by our experts cost just $0.76 per 100mL – that's nearly three times less! 

koala eco natural multi purpose kitchen cleaner

This Koala Eco product was the most expensive in our test, but it was far from the highest scoring.

And if you do have a bit more money to burn, the most expensive recommended product costs $1.95 per 100mL – it's cheaper than these overpriced underperformers but absolutely wipes the floor with them. 

"Time and again we find price isn't necessarily an indicator of performance and sadly these two are great examples," says Ashley.

"They claim to be kind to the planet, but plain old water and elbow grease are kinder, and cost virtually nothing."

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.